Friday, June 28, 2013

Eat Brains Love

Eat Brains Love by Jeff Hart deviates slightly from my preferred zombie genre. Sure it is a survival story and yes there is lots of gore; only, in this book, it is the zombies on the run and zombies as the main characters.

Jake is stoner and a gamer. He admits that sitting on his couch alone playing video games was the perfect way to spend his last night as a human. Amanda is the super-hot cheerleader who barely knows his name. After they devour most of their friends in the high school cafeteria, they are dependent on each other. Meanwhile, Cass is a government employed psychic on a special team to seek out and destroy zombies--and create cover-ups for their actions. Thus, Jake and Amanda's feeding frenzy is explained away as a school shooting.

Alternating from Jake to Cass's perspective, I really wanted to like this book. It started our hilariously and the following line are why:

"You'd be surprised how much you end up thinking about that stuff when you don't really eat anymore. Not the meat really. I get plenty of that. It's the spicy crispy breaking or the hard taco shells you miss. Raw human flesh just lacks the finer preparation techniques of fast food," (Hart, p.5).

Unfortunately, I found several of the character or perceptions of the characters stereotypical and somewhat sexist. And yes, I am pretty sure this is only book 1.

That being said, there will be a following for this book and I am sure teen readers will want to get their hands on a copy. I gave it 3 stars because I did actually enjoy the plot.

Monday, June 24, 2013

For Darkness Shows the Stars

This was a beautiful novel, a great story and one I immediately purchased for the Library.

Cover thoughts: This has nothing to do with the story.

Kai and Elliot were best friends when they were children, even though Elliot was the daughter of Baron North and Elliot was no better than their slave.

Background: Following a brutal war, Luddites escaped a genetic abnormality limiting brain functions. Caused by genetically modifying themselves, the majority of society doomed their children to a life as "reductionists" and the Luddites were entrusted with their safety and care. Years later, a small amount of the children of reductionists were born able to speak and without the limitations of their parents. Kai's father was one of these children making them both Posts (post-reductionists).

Baron North did not approve of his daughter's friendship and was not a very good trustee of the Reductionists or Posts. He would rather further his own luxuries than care for their basic needs. Elliot is nothing like her family and dedicated herself to their care and the care of her family's land. When Kai decided to run away and make his way in the world, Elliot did not accompany him--tearing their friendship apart.

For Darkness Shows the Stars is the story of what happens when they meet again four years later. It is a story of love, of hate, of class and of obligation. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dancer Daughter Traitor Spy

by Elizabeth Kiem

I should start off by saying that the REP from SOHO Teen endorsed this book as his favorite of their fall teen books.

I wouldn't go as far as saying this is one of my favorites, but I did enjoy Marya's story.

Raised as a Russian Ballerina, Marya has a future planned for that will keep her above most of her fellow citizens, even in the Soviet Union. Set during the last days of the Cold War, her mother believes she has secrets about germ warfare and is taken into Soviet custody, enforcing the danger her father already believes they are in.

After being question by KGB, Marya and her father are smuggled out of Russia and eventually to the United States. They hope her mother will join them later. Instead, they wind up caught between the KGB, Russian Mafia and the CIA.

Full of intrigue, I am sure many teens will pick this book and enjoy.

ARC Provided by Publisher at BEA

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bad Girls

 by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Illustrated by Rebecca Guay

This non-fiction text gives a brief overview of 26 of history's "Bad Girls". From Cleopatra to Bloody Mary and Bonnie Parker, these women have been vilified by history for murder, robbery or simply consorting with others accused of these crimes.

Yolen and her daughter have given each bad girl a few pages to briefly recount their story and then their illustrator Rebecca Guay concludes each chapter with a comic page of Yolen and Stemple casting doubt on the baddess of the particular girl.

Acknowledging that each story has two sides (maybe more) is important when looking at history. One of their main points is that if wars had ended with different victors, supposed traitors and spies might be considered heroes.

This is a perfect work for those looking to get a little information about a lot of women--perhaps those getting background before starting more intensive research. The facts presented tell a story, but not as complete as this history-lover would have enjoyed. I also was surprised not to read about Eleanor of the Aquitaine--now she was a "bad girl". I was also frustrated by the gap from Salome (14-71 CE) to Anne Boleyn in the 1500s. I know the Middle Ages were the Dark Ages, but that really was too big of a gap, and its my favorite time period too!

This would be a good book to work with in a history classroom. Reading a chapter every so often and learning to debate both sides of the story and seek the truth. This is definitely a good starting point for a research project as well.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


From the second I heard about this book I couldn't wait to read it. And judging by the response from the teens in the library they can't either (I told a few of them about the book I was reading). This one is sure to be popular and should be added to your purchase lists ASAP.

Lyla's sister was taken from their home days before the twin towers fell. Her parents never recovered, and when Pioneer came offering hope they followed.

Raised in a gated community, Lyla has been taught she is among the chosen, one of the few who will survive the impending apocalypse in the underground bunker the community has built.

With elements of romance and thriller, this look at a cult is most definitely a page turner.

ARC provided by publisher from Netgalley

Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Pattyn was raised in a religious family where women were meant to obey their husbands. And yet, as she raises her 6 younger sisters and watches her mother each week we beaten by her father, she can't help but wonder if she believes the same things as her family and community.

After being caught in a compromising position with a boy, she is sent away for the summer to her estranged Aunt Jeneatte. There, experiencing freedom for the first time, Pattyn is able to work through her thoughts and beliefs.

This is a captivating story told in verse. Originally published (at least the copy I read) in 2006, there is a sequel announced for this fall. After the last few pages, I am seriously waiting for Smoke to be published.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

This book has a Quarkbeast. Have you ever heard of a Quarkbeast? They exist only in Jasper Fforde's novels and while not a focal point is without a doubt the best thing I took from this book.

Biggest regret? I have not yet found fan art of a Quarkbeast that lives up to my wild expectations based on Fforde's descriptions.

Here is my favorite description: "his razor-sharp fangs dripping with saliva. He'd have eaten the leg in under a second if I'd allowed him, but Quarkbeasts, for all their fearsome looks, are obedient to a fault. They are nine-tenths velociraptor and kitchen blender and one-tenth Labrador," (p. 94-95).

Magic is weakening and Jenny Strange is a foundling, indentured to Kazam, a house of wizards and managing the entire business. Raised in the convent of the sacred order of the Blessed Ladies of the Lobster, she must work until she is 18. In the midst of her fourth year, many sears predict the demise of the last dragon and Jenny is caught in the middle.

An obsession with crustaceans, a Transient Moose and of course the Quarkbeast, the world of The Last Dragonslayer  is one in which I am in love with. Absurd in the best possible way and highly worth the read. And yes, there are sequels with hopefully more information about the Quarkbeast. For great special features on the books visit Jasper Fforde's site.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

This is the second book in a series, following Throne of Glass and several online novellas. Many more books are expected.

Celaena Sardothein is an assassin. An amazing assassin and in the Throne of Glass she was pulled from prison and forced to enter a competition to become the King's Champion. Winning the competition she is forced to work for a man she despises--a man who killed her family and has enslaved most of the continent.

An action packed fantasy novel, Celaena's story in many ways resembles Grave Mercy.

Crown of Midnight pulled me immediately back into this world and has made me anxious for the third book. Some background from the first novel might be helpful but readers will be willing to start with this volume and will be clamoring for more. If you were uncertain about wanting to continue the story after the first volume, keep going. It is worth it.

Plus, look at that warrior on the cover!

ARC provided by publisher at BEA

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Silver Six

This action packed graphic novel was written for middle grades, and I am guessing it will be popular. In stunning color, a dystopian world is depicted where all of humanity lives in metal bubbles. This is to protect them from the Earth, ravaged from obtaining and processing a new resource, Hydro-2. Complete dependence upon this resource has left no other options for this futuristic society of space ships, hover crafts and robots.

Orphaned and hiding from the law, Pheobe has managed to evade capture for a year. But when the evil mastermind behind Hydro-2 decides Pheobe has something he wants, her luck runs out.

Sent to child protective services, a giant orphanage with horrible food and incompetent teachers. There she meets 5 other orphans who all have something in common.

Great book.

ARC provided by publisher at BEA

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Treasure Hunters by James Patterson

I can't believe I'm reviewing a James Patterson book. I can't believe I read a James Patterson book. But this one did redeem my opinion of his books.

Treasure Hunters is about a family of four siblings who have always lived on a boat with their parents--searching for lost treasures throughout the world. Despite being oddly close and well adjusted to this lifestyle, the characters themselves were very believable.

When their father mysteriously vanishes in a storm (perhaps even drowned) and their mother vanished weeks before the four siblings do what it takes to keep the family business alive and hopefully find or rescue their parents in the process.

Complete with line illustrations this action packed adventure novel is sure to grab the attention of tweens and those younger.

ARC provided by publisher at BEA

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Shining Scars by Krystian Leonard

I underwent multiple surgeries by the time I was three years old. I have consciously never known what it was like not to have a scar. And, at times I have been very self conscious about my scars.

Krystian Leonard, who I believe was Miss Teen USA (or at least will be competing in that pageant) wrote this picture book to help young children accept and understand their scars.

I am very glad to see that a book such as this has been published and I hope that it will help many children. It is about a Star who fell and got hurt and when it healed had a scar on his head. This is a book for those who injure themselves and for their friends to help.

Text provided by author at BEA.

Monday, June 10, 2013

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

I wanted to read this book from the second I read the review. A lesbian love story set in Iran for teens--that is definitely something I hadn't seen before.

Sahar wanted to marry her best friend Nasrin when they were six years old. And things haven't changed by the time they are teenagers. Nasrin feels the same way, but that sort of thing isn't accepted in Iran and they could be killed if anyone finds out.

Nasrin's family finds her husband and throughout their engagement, Sahar desperately seeks a way for them to be together--finally settling on gender reassignment surgery. Unfortunately Sahar does not feel she is in the wrong body and the choice boils down to choosing to be with Nasrin or being true to herself.

More about identity than romance this will be a popular book. My only wish is that it had been longer. I felt that more could have been added to the characters and the plot. However, I also didn't feel like there were loose ends or unexplained events. A solid addition to YA literature.

ARC provided by publisher at BEA

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

This was one of the first books I grabbed this year at BEA and because of that it became my "line book." I am extremely glad that happened, because otherwise I might not have picked this one up for some time and it is really worth the read.

Willow is extremely smart and doesn't believe in small talk. Her hobbies are medicine and plants and surprisingly she doesn't fit in with many of the kids at her old school. She doesn't fit in with the kids in her new school either. Her one friend is because she wanted the challenge of learning a foreign language to speak to her--and learned that language in a week!

This is a story about not labeling people--about family being what you make it--and about believing in yourself and others.

When Willow's parents are tragically and unexpectedly taken from her, she relies on that one friend, her family, and an apathetic school councilor to keep her safe and help her find her way in the world.

I loved this book. It needs to be read. Though it is considered middle grade, I believe a great number of young adults would enjoy this book as well and I hope it can find its way into their hands.

5 Stars on Goodreads. 

Oh, and as if there wasn't enough to love in this book, she wants to live in a library, because "books = comfort"

ARC provided by publisher at BEA

Friday, June 7, 2013

BEA Recap

Last weekend was one of the greatest events a Librarian and book lover can attend. Book Expo America in NYC. I had a fantastic time and have been busy reading all week long. I knew it was going to be great because I received this tote bag before I even walked onto the floor.

 That's right its for Allegiant by Veronica Roth (who I also got to meet!) It is going to make a great summer reading prize!

Another favorite moment was the Children's Author's Breakfast. Rick Riordan was much funnier than I expected.

I went this year for all three days and below are pictures of the books I was most excited about from each day. There is A LOT of reading in my future.